News / USA

Snowden's Father: Son Would Return for US Espionage Trial

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VOA News
The father of the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked details of the government's clandestine surveillance programs said he believes his son, under certain conditions, would be willing to return to the United States to face espionage charges.

In an interview aired on NBC's Today show Friday, Lonnie Snowden said that through his lawyer he has told U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that his son Edward would probably return home if the government promises to let him be free in advance of a trial, not prohibit him from speaking publicly about the case and let him choose where he would be tried.

There was no immediate response from the Justice Department. But criminal suspects in the U.S. do not have a choice in where they stand trial, and judges usually make the decisions whether to free suspects until their trials start and whether they should be limited in what they can talk about publicly.

Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then disclosed key documents about the surveillance programs being conducted by the U.S.'s secretive National Security Agency to thwart terrorism. Last weekend, Snowden flew to Russia and now is believed to be staying in a transit zone at a Moscow airport, while seeking asylum in Ecuador.

The U.S. is seeking his extradition, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has no intention of turning the 30-year-old Snowden over to American authorities.

The elder Snowden said he did not believe his son had committed treason. But he acknowledged that he "has in fact broken U.S. law, in a sense that he has released classified information."

The father said, "And if folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact he has betrayed his government. But I don't believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States."

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by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 29, 2013 10:20 AM
If Snowden has not betrayed the American people but has betrayed the American government, then we should see through the divide that the American people are different from the American government. Firstly, he must be telling us that there is no democracy in America, if democracy has its basic definition as govt of the people... by the people. But if America is a democracy, then the betrayal of one is the betrayal of all. The biggest trouble Snowden and Assange have created is the reason diplomatic missions MUST now travel to meet targets rather than make calls. A case in point is Kerry shuttling between Jerusalem and Oman several times in a day to beat the leaks that these two represent. Who says they have done any good? Only those who have something to hide are benefiting from this saga, and they are they that fuel support and demonstration against security and safety. In as much as no one has used the secret service pipping for personal indictment, personal gain, media gain or dangerous exposition, we should say kudos to the services. Wish such obtained in Nigeria, maybe the secret operation of Hezbollah would have been nipped in the bud. Regrets are that boko haram has become a dangerous experience in the country before their operations were discovered. USA does not wish such an evil in its land after the 9/11 2001 experience. Only those who hate America and want a repeat of it support what the two leakers have done. Who knows for sure, they may not be Americans indeed.


by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
June 29, 2013 5:40 AM
wherever he is or will be,there need be justice for him....everyone should hope that its not a result of seduction and threats by those in hong kong,russia and equador he is giving them information.

lulasa..the president


by: OldPolyman
June 28, 2013 8:19 PM
It would be very foolish for Mr. Snowden to return to the United States, while he may be concidered a hero by the American people, the govenment will make sure he's incarcerated permanantly, or eliminated, since he made public programes to spy on US citizens.


by: DORAI RAJ L from: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
June 28, 2013 3:11 PM
Dear Senior Friend....

I would like to request you to advise your son to realize what he has done. It is a play to reveal a matter that is considered a secret by US government. According to A, it may be nothing but a violation in support of the public. According to B, it is somewhat a violation against the government even if it is in support of the public. According to C, it may be a serious offense. But here what we should take for granted is 'what it is according to law'. Because, please mind that a law can never reflect everyone's will but the needs of the public. So do not be confused whether your son is guilty or not instead request him to surrender unconditionally to the government with an apology and find ways for being freed by giving an assurance that he will never do such inappropriate things in future. All the best.


by: James Baba from: Houston
June 28, 2013 2:02 PM
Very Courageous step by the Senior Snowden at this critical moment. No doubt, Snowden has betrayed US government; however, he has not betrayed the people of the United States. The govt. missinforms the public to defame the individual. No secrets are revealed except one single act of the govt which was being done against the law. Informing breach of US Law is not illigal but a duty of every individual. :)
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